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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Nov 14, 2010

Ending of Jodi Sta Maria's movie Chassis sure to be talked about

JODI STA. MARIA started as a sweet teen star in “Tabing Ilog”, with Kaye Abad, Desiree del Valle and Paola Peralejo. She remains the most active among them, busy with the soap “Noah” and in mainstream films like “Cinco”. She’s also very visible in indie films and has won the Cinemanila best actress award for “Sisa”. She now plays her most daring role ever in “Chassis”, about homeless people in South Harbor who live under hauling trucks. She has a truck driver husband (Lemuel Pelayo) who earns very little so she sells her body as a sideline to provide for her daughter (Kimberly Fulgar), the only ray of light in her dark life who she sends to school as she’s a bright kid. But the girl dies in a hit and run accident. Jodi was praised by an American Critic for her portrayal in Chassis.

The film has minimal dialogue and the viewer has to supply all the missing pieces by making his own conclusions about the narrative. The final scene will shock you. Jodi gets into a truck and opens the pants of the driver (Paolo Rivero). She gets his member (Jodi is actually shown holding it) then the camera pans up to Paolo while Jodi gives him head. Then Paolo screams in pain and Jodi is shown slicing off his member. It’s not clear if Paolo was the driver who killed her child but that’s what you’d conclude after seeing what she did to him. We saw the film’s integral version at its UP screening and we don’t know if it would be shown uncut in our theatres with its sexually explicit and very violent ending. But it’s been screened at the Pusan and Toronto International Filmfest and here’s what foreign critics wrote about it. From Variety: “Continuing to examine those on the margins of Filipino society, helmer Alix casts a compassionate eye on a homeless young mother fiercely determined to give her young daughter a better life... Immaculately shot, Sta. Maria is quietly compelling as a woman with a single, unshakable reason to live.” From Cinelation: “One of the year's best." From the Mar del Plata International Filmfest where it now competes: “The film’s resolution doesn’t hesitate to combine neorealism’s discomfort with the fatalist bitterness of the best Fassbinder." From Pusan International Filmfest: "This is a bold film by Adolfo Alix Jr. that criticizes society, venting sympathy and anger at the same time." From Tony Rayns of Vancouver International Filmfest: "This scrupulously precise social-realist drama, shot in steely monochrome, and its savage, explicit ending make it suitable for adults only."

We wonder what Jodi’s husband who’s the son of Sen. Ping Lacson would feel and say when he sees his wife doing such a scandalous scene in “Chassis”?